World Baseball Classic - The WBC was used as a reason for the bad start almost from the first month of the season. They told us this story so much I started to believe it was true. Michael Baumann wrote a great article for Fangraphs looking into just this. The first thing that jumps out is the Astros had 12 players and we had 11. As of today, the Astros are 17 games over .500. The Cardinals are 17 games under .500. After doing a deep dive into the numbers he concludes “As it stands, feel free to freak out as much as you like about your team’s early-season performance. Just know that the WBC probably isn’t to blame". I highly recommend reading his article.
The shift - The Cardinals were affected more than any other team by the elimination of the shift. How many times have you read this this year? In 2022 the Cardinals ranked 20th in using the shift and yet we are to believe that somehow we were affected more than the 20 teams that used the shift more than us. With all the Gold Gloves on this team, they should have been the least affected. The Cardinals’ defense has been awful but not because of the shift. I completely break down what I think has happened here.